Oil lamp with animals and anthropomorphic figures
Dong Son Culture , 2nd – 1st century B.C.
This rare oil lamp, 16 cm long, is from a combination of Vietnamese and Chinese traditions. It is rare to find oil lamps combining anthropomorphic representations as well figured and animals. Here, kneeling figures with facial features characteristic of the Dôngsonian aesthetic alternate with stylized birds, as if posed on a branch. Lamps of this shape, with this type of handle, have been found in Vietnam in Han type tombs, of Chinese tradition. They testify to the sensitive adaptation, through Vietnamese creativity, of a form of Chinese origin.
Identified in 1924, the Dông Son culture was named after a site on the banks of the Red River where its first traces were discovered at least 600 years BCE. Highly sophisticated bronze casting skills were developed, mostly for the creation of drums, recipients, arms and ornaments. People of the Dông Son culture placed great importance in rites and ceremonies, and most burial objects had both a practical function and a ritualistic symbolism. Clear proof of cultural and economic exchanges, Dông Son art not only influenced the Chinese provinces on which it bordered, but also a wide geographic zone that included Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia up to the eastern Sunda Islands. This Dông Son culture progressively morphed into Vietnamese art with Chinese tendencies, called Giao-Chi (or Han-Viet) as of the 1st century A.D.
Provenance: Private collection, France.
X ray CIRAM n°1107-OA-04B-39.